The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide by Sean Brodrick (Review)

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I saw The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide sitting on the shelf at my library and decided to see what it was about. As you all know, I’ve been following all the needless gun deaths in the news, and Nancy Lanza, the mother of Newtown mass murderer Adam Lanza, was a “prepper.” She thought the world was coming to an end, which was why she owned so many guns. Much of the gun debate these days gets derailed by people of a similar mentality, people who fear that the government or marauding bands of coordinated mass boogeymen are going to attack them and that they therefore need access to assault weapons. So it was with that in mind that I picked up this book: what is going through the minds of the people who are making this country less safe? But believe it or not, I was disappointed that Brodrick isn’t a crazy–LOTS of what he writes makes perfect sense. He is not an extremist (well, that probably depends on how you define extremist!, but rather someone who is preparing for occasional loss of services and safety. He tackles his problem from the perspective of someone with family.

The key belief that guides this book is the notion that any calamity that takes place will be temporary. When you “prep,” you can prep for a complete shakeout of society, but most likely, Brodrick writes, any setbacks will be temporary, such as the shakeout that people saw during Hurricane Katrina and Sandy (the book was written before Sandy). Therefore, it might be best to prep with this in mind. It’s also possible that no calamity will affect you in your lifetime, therefore it’s best also to make decisions that will better your lot if nothing happens. It’s best to find a balance and be prudent.

He breaks it down into sections: money/finances; preparation (water and food); health, home, and education (including medicine, personal safety, and keeping your kids educated and entertained), and how to evacuate if you have to.

Much of his advice centers around the happy medium. He advises being long on precious metals since they’ll always be worth something, even if we see a drastic devaluation of paper money. He writes about how to buy gold, how to store gold, and how to invest your money so that it grows (which is helpful if there is no social upheaval). He writes about how to store a few months worth of food, and how to purify water if utilities go out. He shows how to calculate how much food and water you’ll need. He writes about the kinds of medicine to stock, how to protect your home, and how to educate your kids. He writes about transportation and how to “get out of Dodge” if the shit hits the fan. He talks about how to avoid getting your guns confiscated and when you know you need to leave.

I thought this book was great–very entertaining, and very informative. I especially appreciated the common sense approach. And yes, he does talk a lot about guns. This book was written before Newtown, and even then, he basically had the same advice that I’ve been sharing (with the caveat that Brodrick unconditionally recommends a gun for every adult!). If you live in the suburbs, a high caliber rifle has no place in your home. A high caliber rifle bullet will go through a wall and could kill your neighbor or his kids. This is not something you want on your conscience. Brodrick recommends a 12 gauge shotgun because it has a maximum range of around 100 yards (although it can still be lethal past this, so don’t do anything stupid), and the clack clack of a cocking shotgun is usually enough to scare away people. As he mentions humorously, most robbers and thieves are lazy (or else they’d do something productive), and if you’re a challenge or could pose a health risk (i.e. the buckshot emanating from your rifle), they’d rather go elsewhere. He recommends NOT stocking too much ammo, as guns themselves usually function best as a deterrent.

The only area where I couldn’t see myself somewhat following his advice was on the food. The problem with stockpiling food is that there usually is an expiration date, so you do have to finish all that dried product. He recommends rotating it. I’d love to rotate it, but I think it might be hard for me to eat dried product if there’s fresh product available!

Check this book out. There’s also a lot of advice on green living, solar panels, books, and bike transportation.

7 thoughts on “The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide by Sean Brodrick (Review)

  1. What disasters does Broderick talk about? Different disasters have different effects.

    In addition, could we be sure that the effects of disasters are at best temporary?

    How are the lives of the Hurricane Katrina and Gulf Oil Spill survivors now? Did they get their lives back to what it was like before the disaster? Their homes? Jobs? Schooling?

    I may check this book out but I’d like to have some info on some of its premises.

  2. 12 gauge shotguns cause really devastating injuries. The lethality of this old weapon is absurd considering how it can no longer pierce modern armor. I would compare the lethality to that of hollow point bullets. I would really hate to use it on someone, especially in a high stress situation like a home invasion. 🙁

    If I may suggest, it will be more important and better to institute things like neighborbood watches, armed patrols (if necessary), even fortifying your home to make it harder to break in, complete with safe room, emergency protocols (but do it the healthy way such as fire drills, first aid, lifesaving etc) than to just own a gun.

    Do you know that in many parts of the world, people live in longhouses? This is no longer practical today but I think this does contribute to why individuals and families are so vulnerable.

    Maybe I should just check out the book before babbling so much.

  3. Rags,

    I think you’ll really like the book.

    The Katrina survivors….some of them are well off, others not so well off. If you were rich before, you’re probably still rich, although probably less so. If you were poor, then you’re probably still poor, but also probably poorer. What Brodrick writes is that after a calamity, things might return to normal, but there might be a new normal.

    “If I may suggest, it will be more important and better to institute things like neighborbood watches, armed patrols (if necessary), even fortifying your home to make it harder to break in, complete with safe room, emergency protocols (but do it the healthy way such as fire drills, first aid, lifesaving etc) than to just own a gun.”

    Rags…PICK UP THIS BOOK NOW! 🙂 I owe you an apology for selling the book short because that’s EXACTLY what he writes. In fact, Brodrick writes about starting a community watch, compiling LISTS of your neighbors skills (who can fix stuff, who can cook, who can program a computer, who can do accounting, who can do CPR, etc.), and sharing information with them. He talks about different kinds of metal shutters you can use on your home to block people out, different kinds of locks for doors.

    He also jokes about guns, saying, for example that he doesn’t believe the people who say a 9 mm handgun won’t stop an attacker. He writes something like, “It sure as hell would stop me!” About shotguns, he jokes about the “non-lethal loads” that people talk about, such as beanbags and rubber ammo. He says there’s no such thing as “non-lethal,” just maybe “less lethal,” since a beanbag can still kill a person, old technology notwithstanding.

  4. Neil Strauss, the guy who wrote The Game and created the mainstream boom for PUAs, wrote a survivalist book. I have no idea if it’s any good though. This one however seems surprisingly good. Better than I would have expected at least.

  5. Yeah, but Strauss cantmevensurviventhe post PUA ridicule that is routinely leveled at him these days.

  6. King wrote: Yeah, but Strauss cantmevensurviventhe post PUA ridicule that is routinely leveled at him these days.

    Exactly but he did scam a bunch of people out of their money to make himself rich. If not for him, those Guru copycats wouldn’t be around doe us to criticize.

  7. Goody! I’m definitely gonna get my hands on this book! 😀

    I wouldn’t trust 9mm, I think 9mm was created primarily for logistical and supply purposes. I hear that it’s lighter and can work reliably in high capacity magazines in automatic and semi automatic weapons, so that contributes to its popularity. But if you can’t get 9mm in a high capacity magazine or a semi/full auto pistol, it may not be good in a “situation”.

    I hear good things about .45 ACP and .357, but can’t verify it. Pistols are only good as backups though. Well placed shots are always lethal but in situations involving actual combat and not just deterrence, I think its practical to consider something more effective like the 12 gauge mentioned earlier, since rifles and SMGs drastically increase the chances of people other than the target being hit. Even 12 gauge is not so good in this regard.

    Ricky, Neil Strauss’s book is no good at all. The guy’s modus operandi is basically to ride the zeitgeist of whatever self-doubt or anxieties plague the “modern” man and to milk and exploit it as some kind of guru, just to give worthless advice and some moralizing at the end of it. Neil Straus is a hack through and through.

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